U.S. mortgage apps increase for first time in a month

For the first time in nearly a month, U.S. mortgage applications increased for the week ending Jan. 6 by 4.5 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to weekly data from the Mortgage Bankers Association released today. Mortgages originated for home purchases increased 8.1 percent from the week ending Dec. 30, while refinancing gained 3.3 percent from the previous week.

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The refinancing share of activity fell to 80.8 percent of total mortgage applications, down more than a full percentage point from last week’s high of 81.9 percent. The adjustable mortgage rate share of activity rose to 5.4 percent from 4.7 percent of total applications.

Mortgage rates moved in every direction for the week. The contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming balances (of no more than $417,500) increased to 4.11 percent from 4.07 percent, but for jumbo loans the interest rate decreased to 4.34 percent from 4.41 percent. Interest rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA held steady at 3.96 percent. Finally, the interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 3.40 percent from 3.37 percent. — Adam Fusfeld